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    Daniel Nagahama died in June 2016 at Robert Wood Johnson about three hours after police were called to South Fifth Avenue for reports of a man lying in the street. Watch video

    A newly released video shows the struggle between Highland Park police and an Edison man hours before the 28-year-old died in the hospital last year.

    Daniel Nagahama died in June 2016 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick about three hours after police were called to South Fifth Avenue for reports of a man lying in the street.

    Authorities said at the time Nagahama became "belligerent" and fought with police after the officers revived him.

    The death of Nagahama became the subject a legal battle between the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office and the Libertarians for Transparent Government, which won a lawsuit last year seeking the release of documents relating to the case.  

    None of the officers has been accused of any wrongdoing in Nagahama's death. 

    In one of the police dash camera videos obtained by NJ Advance Media from Highland Park police, Nagahama can be seen flailing in the street as officers arrived just after 5 p.m.

    A few minutes later, Nagahama can be seen standing, waving his arms and heard yelling, "Words! Words! I am good! Does that make you feel better?"

    "Are you hurt?" one of the four officers asks after asking Nagahama to put his hands down. 

    In the videos, Nagahama can be heard and seen screaming at the officers during the 13-minute altercation, although much of what is said in the video cannot be made out.

    When the officers attempt to cuff Nagahama, he fights and argues with the officers for nearly three minutes. At one point an officer pulls his pepper spray, but he doesn't appear to spray Nagahama.

    Moments later, Nagahama falls to the ground next to the cruiser with the officers and is out of frame. An ambulance arrives a few minutes later and Nagahama is taken away cuffed, on a stretcher. 

    The use-of-force forms say that officers used compliance holds as well as hands and fists to arrest Nagahama. One of the officers used pepper spray during the incident, although the videos do not capture that.

    Nagahama is listed on all the forms as "under the influence."

    A press release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office issued after the altercation said Nagahama "was not placed under arrest, but was taken to the hospital by rescue workers."

    The use-of-force forms filed by the officers, which are required under state Attorney General's guidelines after any incident of force, check a box listing Nagahama as arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct. The four forms were signed electronically, according to Lt. Thomas Hammill.

    In response to questions about the discrepancy between the press release and the use-of-force forms Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said, "Nagahama was undergoing a mental crisis, and was not cooperative, he was placed in handcuffs for his safety, as well as that of the officers."

    "He was transported to the hospital where he continued to be combative with police and hospital staff. Once calmed down, the handcuffs were removed and the police left the hospital with Mr. Nagahama under hospital's care," Carey said in the emailed statement. "Mr. Nagahama passed away later. Mr. Nagahama was never charged with any crime. Therefore, while Mr. Nagahama was indeed restrained, handcuffed and transported from the scene to the hospital, he was not placed under formal arrest. The UFRs [use-of-force forms] which indicate an arrest, were prepared in anticipation of later charging Mr. Nagahama with a petty disorderly persons offense."

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at CMcCarthy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    The wife and children of Staff. Sgt. William Kundrat visit Cranbury Christmas display deemed state's best

    The family of a Marine killed during the summer received a special holiday thank-you at the Cranbury home of what has been deemed the state's best Christmas display.

    Staff Sgt. William Kundrat was one of 16 service members who died in a plane crash during a training mission in Mississippi July 10. Kundrat, 33, served in the Marines for 15 years and was a decorated veteran of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Kundrat, a Maryland native, had planned a trip to the home of Keith A. Shaw after researching points of interest in the New York area, said his widow, Ashley.

    "It's amazing and so beautiful. He deserves it and the children have been through a lot.... At first I was gonna cancel the trip because it was just too much. But, you know, he wanted us to be here for a reason and now we are, so it's a blessing," said Ashley Kundrat.

    She and the couple's two children, 13-year-old Ethan and Aleah, 9, were escorted to the home by members of the New York Fire Department and the New Jersey State Police.

    Shaw said he has hosted countless visitors during the last 11 years, but said his guests Wednesday were extra-special.

    "We do a lot of interviews and shows but nothing makes us prouder than to honor someone that has fought and died for this country," Shaw said. It honestly chokes me up thinking this is taking place tonight."

    Staff writer Paul Milo contributed to this report.

    Taylor Tiamoyo Harris may be reached at tharris@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @ladytiamoyo.

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     


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    "Olden times and ancient rhymes of love and dreams to share."

    On Dec. 9, 1965, at 7:30 p.m., television sets around the country - including a black-and-white Zenith with a beige cabinet in Vineland -- were tuned to CBS; families were curious to watch a new special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

    The program remains entertaining and powerful more than 50 years later. Here, thanks to mentalfloss.com, TV Guide, thefw.com and IMDB, are some obscure facts about the iconic holiday show.

    xmas1962vineland.jpgMerry Christmas from the Hatala children on Chimes Terrace in 1962 ... wait, what's up with the eyes? 

    * We're all familiar with Vince Guaraldi's jazz soundtrack for the show; it's become one of the most identifiable musical links to the holiday season. I've heard a myth that Guaraldi's music would have been forbidden, save for Charles Schulz stepping up and stating something to the effect of "It's Vince's music or no show." Actually, Schulz left the music decisions to director Lee Mendelson.

    * Schulz was instrumental in going against the long-standing tradition of hiring adult voice actors to perform children's roles in animated movies and TV shows. According to thefw.com, "Schulz wanted to bring believable voices to the characters, so the producers cast professional child actors for the roles of Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy since they were required to recite most of the dialogue." Kathy Steinberg, the voice of Sally Brown, had not yet learned to read at the time of the production and had to be "fed" her lines a word or syllable at a time.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    * The broadcast was sponsored by Coca Cola, and believe it or not, there was serious consideration to have a scene with one of the characters drinking the beverage. No characters drank soda in the special, however, the first airing featured an opening scene in which Linus crashes head-on into a sign advertising Coca-Cola. The scene was cut due to expired advertising contracts and the sign was replaced with one that read "Danger."

    And some more trivia tidbits:

    * In the first show's credits, Charles Schulz's had a "t" added to his last name; none of the children who voiced the characters received credits at the end.

    * Lucy refers to Charlie Brown as "Charlie" in one scene about the commercialization of Christmas; it's the only time -- in print or subsequent specials -- she refers to him as anything but "Charlie Brown."

    * Snoopy's dog house is blue; in all subsequent specials, it's red.

    * "A Charlie Brown Christmas" pre-empted an episode of "The Munsters" and, fortunately, pulled a 50 share in the Nielsen ratings (second only to "Bonanza") or it likely would never have aired again.

    Merry Christmas! Enjoy this gallery of Christmas photos, as well as these galleries from Christmases past.

    Vintage photos of celebrating Christmas in N.J.

    More Vintage photos of celebrating the holidays in N.J.

    Vintage photos of celebrating the holidays in N.J.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    Officials said the additional police was a safety precaution and 'there is no evidence of any specific or credible threat'

    West Windsor-Plainsboro district schools will have an increased police presence on Thursday after a non-specific threat was found scrawled on a bathroom wall at a middle school, officials said.

    Superintendent David Aderhold said in a message to parents that the additional police was a safety precaution and "there is no evidence of any specific or credible threat."

    The graffiti with the threat was found Wednesday evening by a custodian at Community Middle School, which is across the street from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and next door to Millstone River School.

    All three schools were searched by police, Aderhold said.

    "As a precaution and due to proximity, the premises of Millstone River School and High School North were inspected by Plainsboro Police," Aderhold said. "No further evidence of a concern was found."

    Plainsboro police planned patrols at all three schools Thursday morning, and West Windsor police said the department would also send officers to schools in its portion of the shared school district.

     

    Spencer Kent may be reached at skent@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    A look at how Twitter introduced these players.


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    Daniel Nagahama died of morbid obesity with an enlarged heart, according to the medical examiner's autopsy report Watch video

    The death of an Edison man hours after struggling with Highland Park police last year was deemed natural causes related to an enlarged heart, according to the medical examiner's autopsy report obtained by NJ Advance Media.

    Daniel Nagahama, a 28-year-old whose encounter with police was revealed in new detail Wednesday with the release of dashcam footage from the incident, died of morbid obesity with an enlarged heart, the autopsy said.

    Nagahama also had a "high concentration of alcohol," which was nearly three times the legal limit to drive, according to the autopsy that was performed the day after he died at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

    The encounter occurred in Highland Park just after 5 p.m. on June 2, 2016, after police responded to reports of a man lying in the street on South Fifth Avenue. Nagahama became "belligerent" and fought with police after the officers revived him, according to a press release from authorities at the time. 

    The Libertarians for Transparent Government had sued the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office seeking the release of records pertaining to Nagahama death and won.

    Dash camera videos obtained by NJ Advance Media showed much of the incident, including Nagahama screaming at police and officers cuffing the man. 

    The Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey has said Nagahama was not arrested, but "placed in handcuffs for his safety, as well as that of the officers."

    The four officers, none of whom have been accused of any wrongdoing, had listed Nagahama as arrested on a charge disorderly persons on their state-mandated use-of-force form. Carey said, however, those forms were filled out by the officers expecting to charge Nagaham with disorderly persons, but they were never filed. 

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at CMcCarthy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    Where you need to be over the holiday break.


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    The school district was shot down on efforts to field a combined team for this past season

    The two West Windsor-Plainsboro high schools will field a combined varsity football team for the 2018 and 2019 seasons under a proposal announced by the district's superintendent Thursday.

    The move needs board of education approval.

    The district had tried to combine the teams over the summer - for the season that just ended - in an arrangement called a cooperative, but it was defeated by the state's scholastic sports body, and the league in which the teams play. The district cited an ongoing lack of interested players.

    As a result, the district suspended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North's team this past season, and the Plainsboro school only played junior varsity games.

    West Windsor High School South, in West Windsor, played varsity, finishing 1-8, with its lone win against Princeton High School.

    Earlier this month, though, the high school sports governing body, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, approved a rule change to let large schools the size of the West Windsor-Plainsboro campuses to form cooperatives with certain restrictions.

    The decision to combine the North and South teams, Superintendent David M. Aderhold wrote in a letter posted on the district website, follows weeks of discussions and feedback from coaches, athletes, and parents. And officials looked at feeder football programs, like Pop Warner programs, as well as injury statistics.

    Among the feedback, which Aderhold listed at the end of this letter, was that athletes at both schools were against the combined football squad in a survey.

    Thirty-one students were against a cooperative, with 22 voting for it.

    By school, North athletes voted 11 to 10 for it, with South athletes voted 21 to 11 against a combined varsity team.

    Parents and coaches voted for the cooperative, the letter says.

    "As we work to organize the football program, with three true levels of competition, Freshmen, JV and Varsity, we believe that we can provide greater opportunity for the development of our student-athletes and improve player safety," the superintendent wrote.

    Aderhold also wrote that the decision not only affects football, but cheerleaders, marching bands and other student activities.

    "We are committed to working with all parties to ensure the continued excellence and programmatic experience. I am confident that we will navigate the path to a merged program successfully," he said.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The crash is causing delays of around 10 or 15 minutes.

    UPDATE: 2 killed, 6 hurt in fiery multi-car wreck on Route 440


    A fiery multi-car crash with serious injuries on Route 440 south in Edison near the I-287 exit for the NJ Turnpike is causing major delays in both directions as the morning rush hour gets underway.

    Police are on the scene investigating the crash, which occurred shortly after 6 a.m. Multiple lanes are closed in both directions and the traffic jam has backed up onto the Garden State Parkway northbound beyond the Driscoll Bridge lanes for at least two miles.

    Southbound traffic on I-287 south is also jammed for several miles and delays are building.

    The extent of the injuries was not immediately available, but multiple ambulances and fire trucks were called to the scene. ABC7ny.com, which has a helicopter over the scene, is reporting seven cars were involved. Four of the cars appeared to have been burned in the fire.

    The State Police is urging drivers to seek alternate routes and avoid the area.

    Spencer Kent may be reached at skent@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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  • 12/22/17--05:08: Mother cat needs a home
  • NEW BRUNSWICK -- Maxine is a 4-year-old cat in the care of Scarlet Paws. She was rescued as a stray after having kittens in the yard of a private home. Volunteers describe her as "extremely friendly and loving." Maxine is FIV/FeLV negative, spayed and up-to-date on shots. For more information on Maxine, call Scarlet Paws at 609-575-5428 or email mcancio@comcast.net....

    mx1224pet.jpgMaxine 

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- Maxine is a 4-year-old cat in the care of Scarlet Paws.

    She was rescued as a stray after having kittens in the yard of a private home.

    Volunteers describe her as "extremely friendly and loving." Maxine is FIV/FeLV negative, spayed and up-to-date on shots.

    For more information on Maxine, call Scarlet Paws at 609-575-5428 or email mcancio@comcast.net. Scarlet Paws is a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing strays and the humane treatment of domestic animals.

    Shelters interested in placing a pet in the Paw Print adoption column or submitting news should call 973-836-4922 or email middlesex@starledger.com.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    Hot takes from the first week of action.


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    The crash jammed traffic on the Garden State Parkway, I-287 and Route 440 for hours as police investigated

    Two people were killed and six were injured in a fiery multi-vehicle crash Friday morning on Route 440 in Middlesex County, police said.

    The seven-car crash occurred in the southbound lanes around 6 a.m. in Woodbridge near the Edison border where I-287 becomes Route 440 just past the NJ Turnpike interchange. 

    The State Police closed lanes in both directions on Route 440 as firefighters extinguished the blaze that appeared to consume four of the vehicles. Lanes remain closed for the crash investigation that is continuing as of 10:30 a.m.

    The two people killed in the crash have not been identified. The six people taken to local hospitals are not believed to have life-threatening injuries, the State Police said. 

    The wreck caused massive delays on Route 440, I-287 and backed up traffic on the Garden State Parkway northbound through the morning rush. State Police advised drivers to avoid the area and seek alternate routes

    The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

    Spencer Kent may be reached at skent@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    CARTERET -- Tidroski family members were captured in this Christmas morning photo taken in Carteret in the 1950s. MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey If you would like to share a photo that provides a glimpse of history in your community, please call 973-836-4922 or send an email to middlesex@starledger.com. And, check out more glimpses of history in our online...

    CARTERET -- Tidroski family members were captured in this Christmas morning photo taken in Carteret in the 1950s.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    If you would like to share a photo that provides a glimpse of history in your community, please call 973-836-4922 or send an email to middlesex@starledger.com. And, check out more glimpses of history in our online galleries on nj.com.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    See what was sizzling throughout N.J. girls basketball in the first week of the season.


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    AG says Middlesex County anesthesiologist was caught on video prescribing painkillers to an undercover cop without examining her.

    A state oversight board has revoked the license of a Middlesex County doctor accused of "wildly indiscriminate prescribing" -- including giving opioid painkillers to an undercover State Police detective without examining her.

    Binod Sinha, an anesthesiologist, was caught on video exchanging the prescription for $200 cash in July 2014, according to state Attorney General Christopher Porrino's office.

    After authorities sent him a subpoena, he allegedly handed over a phony patient record for the undercover cop that included information contradicted by the tape, according to documents filed by the state Board of Medical Examiners.

    "The videotape unquestionably reveals that Dr. Sinha did little more than act as a drug dealer," Porrino said in a statement Friday announcing the ruling.

    Why N.J. is going after doctors and drugmakers

    According to the board's order, Sinha admitted liability and pleaded no contest to the charges. His attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

    The board ruled earlier this month that Sinha was "fundamentally, a morally bereft practitioner," noting the state's investigation found he had also overprescribed painkillers to six other patients. 

    The state documents show Sinha had twice seen his license suspended over allegations of negligence, including one instance in which his actions "contributed to the death" of a 16-year-old girl in 1989. 

    Sinha is one of several doctors subjected to state sanctions in recent months as New Jersey authorities mount an aggressive effort to stem improper opioid prescriptions, which they say are fueling the state's heroin epidemic. 

    S.P. Sullivan may be reached at ssullivan@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    A series of crashes Friday morning killed two and sent a half-dozen to the hospital

    Authorities Friday night were still trying to determine the precise circumstances of a fatal traffic accident on Rt. 440 near the Woodbridge-Edison border.

    A preliminary investigation, though, reveals that a series of collisions played out over the course of possibly several minutes, leaving two dead just days before Christmas.

    The tragic sequence of events began sometime around 6 a.m. Friday morning, when a Honda Accord and another vehicle were involved in an accident that left both vehicles disabled in the left lane of southbound Route 440, said Sgt. Lawrence Peele of the State Police.

    Fatal, fiery accident shuts down highway Friday morning 

    Sometime afterwards, an Infiniti sedan traveling southbound struck the rear of the Honda. Sometime after that, a Jeep Compass stopped behind the Infiniti. A Hyundai sedan then struck the stopped Jeep, sending it careening into the Infiniti, Peele said.

    One more vehicle, a Chevy Silverado, then struck the Hyundai, with both vehicles catching fire.

    Dead are Scott Koy, a 46-year-old Parlin resident who was in the Hyundai, and Royena Bertrand of the Bronx, 34, who was traveling in the Infiniti.

    Another six people were hurt.

    Paul Milo may be reached at pmilo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@PaulMilo2. Find NJ.com on Facebook.  

     

     


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    Luis Fajardo claims in the lawsuit filed in that after his injury during a training session in June 2015, he was discouraged from filing a workers comp claim

    A former training officer with the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office has filed suit against the agency accusing the department's leaders of harassing and eventually firing him over an on-the-job injury.

    middlesex-county-sheriff-mildred-scott-e6c50cfd4110487a.jpgMiddlesex County Sheriff Mildred Scott in Star-Ledger file photo
     

    Luis Fajardo claims that after his injury during a training session in June 2015, he was told he would "be in the Sherriff [Mildred Scott's] good graces" if he did not file for workers' compensation. The nature of his injury was not disclosed in the lawsuit.

    Fajardo says in the suit he was urged sign a blank accident form by an internal affairs detective on the request of Chief Warrant Officer Candace Burgess.

    When he later called the insurance company directly, Fajardo was told the company was informed by the department that he would not be filing a worker's compensation claim, according to the suit. 

    Fajardo, who was the sheriff's office's head instructor, retired with a pension in June 2016 on accidental disability for his injury, according to state records. Fajardo filed his lawsuit on Nov. 16 in Superior Court in Middlesex County.

    The county did not return calls for comment on the suit.

    In the weeks after the injury, the department faxed Fajardo a document saying he was to be penalized for filing a false claim to insurance and would be cited for insubordination if he did not return the form signed "immediately," according to the suit. 

    Fajardo claims he was later harassed by other officers. Fajardo also says in the suit that he complained on occasions that the training facilities were inadequately equipped and led to officers' injuries.  

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at CMcCarthy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption, during the holidays and all year 'round.

    I'm no different than you; the advertisements from the ASPCA get to me no matter how many times I see them. And they help: the famous spot featuring Sarah McLachlan singing "Angel" has raised roughly $30 million for the organization in the last 10 years; it's referred to with reverence in marketing circles as "The Ad."

    But you're maybe also like me in that your budget isn't large enough to allow for regular donations. If you're interested in helping homeless animals but aren't able to adopt one or make cash contributions, there are a number of other ways you can be of assistance.

    * Help out at a local shelter. It's not glamorous work by any means, but it's vital and will be very much appreciated. You can do anything from help walk dogs to bottle feed kittens, help clean kennels or cat's cages or even help with bathing and grooming. Contact your local shelter to find out their policies regarding volunteers.

    * If you're handy, you can lend a hand in many ways. Shelters usually need repairs of many kinds, so fixer-uppers can help out like that. If you sew, quilt or crochet, you can make blankets for your local shelter.

    * Help out at an adoption event. Many shelters and rescue groups participate in local events by hosting a table with pets available for adoption. They also hold these program at malls, pet supply stores and banks, and can always use a helping hand.

    * For galleries like this one and for online adoptions sites, often a shelter or rescue group doesn't have the time or equipment to shoot good photos of their adoptable pets, Something as simple as making yourself available to shoot and provide digital files of pet photos can be a big help.

    * Donate. It doesn't have to be money; shelters need cleaning supplies, pet food, toys for the animals and often even things we don't think twice about getting rid of like old towels and newspapers. Every little bit helps.

    If you don't know where your local animal shelter or rescue group is, a quick online search will reveal a number of results. It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to get involved but it provides immeasurable assistance.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    What kindles holiday spirits more than telling your neighbors, "Talk to my attorney!" ? Watch video

    Light has always been part of Christmas celebration.

    In Iraq, Assyrian Christians welcome the holiday by singing psalms and jumping over a bonfire made of thorn bushes.

    In El Salvador, Christmas is ushered in by lighting fireworks: Volcancitos ("little volcanos"), sparklers like estrellitas ("little stars") and Roman candles.

    But on Central Avenue in Old Bridge, a new yuletide custom is taking root: Spitting at your neighbor's truck and giving him the finger while passing by his 70,000 light Christmas display.

    Not just any neighbor, mind you. In Old Bridge, it's Thomas Apruzzi, whose ever-expanding lighting extravaganza at 18 Central Avenue is now drawing hundreds of delighted visitors nightly -- and hatred from some of those who live nearby.

    "It's absolutely not safe on Central Avenue," declared neighbor Raymond Kelly, who says the combination of Apruzzi's dazzlingly bright lighting show with a dark, sidewalk-less street and scores of distracted pedestrians and gawking motorists is simply an accident waiting to happen.

    As the traffic and congestion have swelled, neighbor's reactions have changed from "Whoa!" to "Woe!" At the peak of the season, over 1,000 people per night watch Apruzzi's 27 minute light show, hemming others on the block into their homes from just after dusk until past 10 p.m.

    For a display that's a celebration of Christianity -- a religion whose core commandment is "Love your neighbor as yourself." -- the resulting animus between actual neighbors is striking.

    But having sunk over $100,000 into a 32,000 pixel light display that turns his entire rooftop into a massive movie screen that plays scenes both patriotic and Christmas-y, Apruzzi is unfazed.

    "I'm not stopping it," Apruzzi told NJ Advance Media. "And if they have a problem with it, they can talk to my lawyer."

    After all, he argues, it's his house, and, he adds, "I can do whatever I want on my house."

    Yet that actually remains an open question.

    The town of Old Bridge actually has a law on the books banning the use of an "automatic picture showing device" of exactly the sort Apruzzi has made the centerpiece of his nightly light show.

    SS 35-9 - Automatic picture-showing amusement devices which are designed for viewing by patrons other than those seated in a theater-type auditorium are specifically prohibited from licensing, installation, possession or operation under this chapter, section, subsection, or other ordinance of the Township.

    But Apruzzi's neighbors say local police have not heeded their requests to enforce the statute, although they have increased patrols of Central Avenue during peak viewing times.

    Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry professed ignorance of the statute in an interview with NJ Advance Media, and directed a reporter's query to the town's legal department.

    Old Bridge' town legal department were could not be reached for comment. 

    In the meantime, Apruzzi's neighbors are gritting their teeth and eagerly hoping for the law to be enforced, or failing that, for the relief that comes with the blessedly dark nights of a new year's winter.

    Claude Brodesser-Akner may be reached at cbrodesser@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClaudeBrodesser. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.

    Spencer Kent may be reached at skent@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Police located a 55-year-old man and 47-year-old woman in their Old Bridge home

    A couple and their dog were found shot to death in their Old Bridge home as a result of an apparent murder-suicide on Christmas Eve, authorities said. 

    Thomas Vuocolo, 55, and Cindy Marcinczyk, 47, died sometime before 9 p.m. Sunday, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said in a release. 

    A second dog also shot at the home on Hilltop Boulevard in the Laurence Harbor section of town is recovering at a local animal hospital, the prosecutor's office said.

    The investigation is ongoing but preliminary indications are that the deaths were caused in a murder-suicide, according to a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office. 

    A neighbor, Leslie Dunn, said the couple was suffering from health problems.

    "They were sickly, but they didn't want charity," Dunn said. "It's a shock. I don't think one would have lasted without the other. They were very nice, polite and kept to themselves."

    Another neighbor, who gave her name only as Michelle, said Vuocolo and Marcinczyk were "good people" who adopted the dogs from a local animal rescue.

    Property records list Vuocolo as the owner of the home, which he purchased in 1981.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Old Bridge police at (732) 721-5600 ext. 3141 or the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at (732) 745-4436.


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